Sony Pictures is developing a spin-off to its Spider-Man franchise centering around a female superhero.

The film is reportedly pencilled for a release in 2017. That would place the film between A Sinister Six spin-off, which hits cinemas in 2016, and Amazing Spider-Man 3 which is intended to open in 2018.

Possibilities for a female superhero role culled from the original comic source include The Black Cat and Spider-Woman. However, the studio's plans for the franchise have been complicated somewhat after the disappointing box office returns for this summer's Amazing Spider-Man, which earned $60 million (45 million Euros) less than the $262 million netted by the 2012 remake (169 million Euros.)

Marvel comics caused some surprise when they announced that the new Thor would be a woman in the comic storylines. Similarly, Marvel Studios have broached the possibility of a future Black Widow standalone movie.